President Obama signs bipartisan legislation making it easier for disabled children to save money without jeopardizing federal benefits.
Disability Scoop has reported that President Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) before leaving Washington for the holidays. This bipartisan legislation will allow individuals who are disabled before age 26 to open tax-free savings accounts amassing up to $100,000 without fear of losing government benefits. Funds can be used for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses.
Current law does not allow individuals with $2,000 or more in savings to receive government benefits like SSI and Medicaid. This puts families in the difficult position of not being able to save for their children’s future.
A real life example
Our law firm was hired to represent a husband who lost his wife in a work accident. Michigan law provides wage loss benefits to family members who can show dependency.
Turns out that only person who could make a claim was a mentally ill sister. She had been supported by our client for her entire adult life and had no savings.
Being paid a settlement would have jeopardized her receipt of Medicaid insurance. This is not something her sister would have wanted.
The case was eventually resolved but it required an expensive trust and professional administration.
More change is needed
According to the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for persons with a disability was 13.2% in 2013.
We need better programs to help disabled individuals transition to gainful employment. This includes allowing people who receive SSI and Medicaid to work without fear of losing government benefits.
Expanding the ABLE Act to include people of any age would be a good start.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by kenteegardin.